The Time is NOW for Climate Action!

Scientists working for the oil companies have known about climate change since the 1950s. It’s been a scientifically accepted fact since the 1980s. Millennials have grown into middle age listening to the debate between fossil fuel industry plants and reality. And while the pundits argued, climate changed. 2023 was the hottest year since records began in 1850. And 2024 is hotter than that!

Climate change is linked to more frequent natural disasters everywhere. In 2023 alone Canada lost 5% of its forest area to wildfires, China was inundated with more than 9.5” of rain in 24 hours around Beijing, and entire towns in Libya were completely destroyed by sudden flooding.

Grand Rapids had 47” of snow last year, 30 inches less than our average of 76”. Winter sports in Michigan may be a thing of the past. In recent winters, activities such as snowmobiles and skiing have been canceled due to warm temperatures.

Without radical changes, Michigan’s climate could be similar to Oklahoma or North Texas. And summers in Texas may get hot enough to cook a person. We’ll likely see climate migration in the coming decades. Given our current housing crisis, will we be prepared?

Our food systems have been developed based on existing climate patterns. What will happen when those change?

CAPITALISM IS THE PROBLEM

In North America, the European settlers who brought the concept of money had to systematically eradicate the North American indigenous cultures that revered the Earth.  If Capitalism could  save us from  climate change, it would need to somehow reconcile the parts of itself that created the issue in the first place. “Green” Capitalism presents us two options:

Individual consumer-based solutions

We know that individual solutions aren’t enough to prevent climate catastrophe. Just 100 corporations have been responsible for releasing 71% of greenhouse gasses. In one year, the richest billionaires each produce as much carbon as someone in the 99% would in 1,500 years.

So even if we got the entire working class to ELIMINATE their “carbon footprint” (a term created by the oil industry), we wouldn’t be anywhere close to making the change necessary! Additionally, many of the products for these consumer-based solutions require continued exploitative precious metal mining in Africa, for lithium and cobalt

Carbon offsets

The world’s largest companies and Grand Rapids City Government plan on reaching net zero by using carbon offsets. Many consumers are even presented with the option to add $2 to your plane ticket to offset “1,000 air miles” or $17/year to offset your breath.

This money goes to projects like Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in PA–a nature preserve since the 1930s–or Hudson Farm Club in NJ–Billionaire Peter Kelogg’s private hunting club. Things under no threat of bulldozers. There is no additional benefit, just an excuse to continue business as usual. In fact, in a 2021 study the Grantham Research Institute of Climate Change and the Environment found that carbon offsets have substantially increased pollution. And why wouldn’t they? Logging companies can just clear cut the land next door and forest fires don’t care about human contracts.

SO WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?

The solution is simple: LEAVE IT IN THE GROUND! We have pulled out enough fossil fuels that, if burned, would send us into catastrophic climate change. If we stopped burning fossil fuels today and figured out what to do without them tomorrow, the positive effects would still outweigh the negative effects. We don’t need more exploration and extraction. We need a just transition now!

There are common sense solutions that could slash emissions today, like regulating the oil industry and heavily taxing billionaires who are making the worst climate impacts. A competent government would be banning cryptocurrency mining and closing the MPG loophole for ultra-heavy vehicles like SUVs and modern trucks, while improving and expanding public transit, which would drastically reduce emissions and simultaneously reduce traffic, transportation costs, and car accidents.

America’s green transition is moving so slowly because our leaders insist on waiting for private utility companies to switch to renewable energy at a pace that stays profitable. Instead of wasting time while these companies drag their feet, we should be creating and supporting public utilities with the resources and the will to build green energy. NOT TOMORROW BUT TODAY!

Just last year the NYC DSA won a massive campaign to pass the Build Public Renewables Act, which invests heavily in new green energy production and requires the state owned power company to go completely green by 2030. This isn’t a pipe dream, it’s already happening in this country!